Pakistan is unlikely to fully implement a new tobacco product tracking system by the December deadline, The News International reports.
While leading manufacturers such as Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC), Philip Morris International and Khyber Tobacco Company have incorporated the system into their production facilities, others including Civil Tobacco Company, Frontier Tobacco Company, Falcon Cigarette Industries, Indus Tobacco Co., and Manily Tobacco International Inc., have only partially done so. However, other companies have either refused to comply or are delaying, citing technical and financial difficulties.
The partial implementation has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the track and trace system, which relies on bar codes, unique identification numbers and central monitoring systems to track the movement of tobacco products from production to sale.
"Track and trace systems must be implemented across the industry to be successful and produce the desired results," the report quoted an industry official as saying. "Secondly, comprehensive and effective enforcement is needed to ensure that cigarettes without seals are not sell."
The system has been successful in other countries such as Turkey, Brazil and Kenya, helping to reduce tax evasion and illegal trade in the tobacco industry. Industry officials have urged the Federal Board of Revenue of Pakistan to take strict action against non-compliant manufacturers and implement the system across the industry.